Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chunks of NYC infrastructure continue to return to service, but the Statue of Liberty -- though relit -- remains a distant prospect


by Ken

Here in the Big Apple, while a lot of people have suffered personal and property loss beyond recovery and a lot of people are still suffering "temporary" hardship like power loss, more and more pieces of the metropolitan area are being gradually restored to something like normal function.

This morning, for example, I was able to take the no. 1 Broadway local train, which begins way up in the Bronx at the southern end of Van Cortlandt Park and then runs all the way down the West Side of Manhattan to South Ferry, all the way from my home stop, 190 Street, to my work stop, Rector Street, the next-to-last stop on the line. Until yesterday, no. 1 service had only gone as far as Chambers Street, the next stop up the line.

The relatively new South Ferry station (above) -- a huge upgrade over the tiny old one, which opened in 2009 -- was totally flooded and apparently requires a major overhaul of its electrical facilities. HuffPost published a video and slide show of photos from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority [MTA].) As far as I know, there isn't even a target date for its return to service.

This is actually a longer distance than it might seem, because there used to be another stop between Chambers and Rector Streets. The IRT Cortlandt Street station, which actually ran under the World Trade Center site, was destroyed on 9/11. (The BMT Cortland Street station a short block to the east was also heavily damaged, but in time the northbound platform was reopened, and eventually the southbound platform was rebuilt.)

Ever since my coworkers were able to get back in our building -- the Sunday following the storm, as I've mentioned -- I've been within fairly easy walking distance of Battery Park and the rest of the flat, barely-above-sea-level bottom edge of Manhattan, which was all underwater from the record storm surge. Somehow, though, I haven't felt like making the walk just to see what there is to see.

The flooded Holland Tunnel to New Jersey finally reopened last week, and just today NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that what most everyone still calls the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (even though just this past October 22 it was formally renamed the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, for the former NYS governor, 1975-82), announced that the east tube, which normally carries Manhattan-bound traffic, has reopened for rush hours only, reversing directions, with one lane for buses and one for cars.

The AP notes that this tunnel, which "was among the most damaged by the storm surge and has been a nagging problem even as other tunnels and subway lines opened," has been "used repeatedly" by Gov. Andrew Cuomo "as an example of the severity of the storm." According to the MTA, "more than a mile of the tunnel's 9,000-foot length" was "flooded with millions of gallons of corrosive, debris-laden seawater, causing wide-ranging damage to the tunnel's electrical, lighting, communications, surveillance and ventilation systems." The normally Brooklyn-bound west tube remains closed for continuing repairs, with "no timetable for resuming traffic."

Here, a few short blocks west of my office in the Financial District, is the West Street entrance to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (still known to most of us as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, connecting Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn) as it looked not long after the storm. NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that the east tube will open during rush hours, alternating directions, one line for buses and one for cars.

These are highly visible pieces of the metro-area infrastructure that are crucial to the movement of large numbers of New Yorkers. So much of the city was shut down that we keep hearing about parts that at least some of us haven't been paying attention to. It was only this morning, when I read the following post by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee blog, that I realized I hadn't heard or read much about one of the area's most celebrated landmarks.

Statue of Liberty Closed Indefinitely

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
November 13, 2012

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have been closed since Oct. 29 and will remain closed until further notice. The National Park Service expects to know within a month the total cost and time it will take to repair storm damage. Until then, officials can’t even speculate when Liberty and Ellis Islands will be able to reopen to visitors.

Although the statue itself was not damaged by the storm, Liberty Island suffered significant damage to its infrastructure. Bricks were ripped up from pavements and Liberty Island’s dock, where tourists arrive by ferry may need to be rebuilt completely.

From Reuters: [Nov. 12, "Statue of Liberty storm damage will take month to assess"]

“The walkway just got lifted off the pilings and shifted off its support,” Litterst [a National Park Service spokesman] said. “We may be able to repair the dock if it’s still structurally sound, but if not it will have to be replaced, and that’s a longer process.”
The Statue of Liberty had just completed an extensive $30-million renovation project that closed her crown to visitors for a year. Her long-awaited re-opening lasted for just six hours before Sandy crashed into New York Harbor.

Damage to her flood-water soaked mechanical systems had laid the iconic structure dark until last Friday when Lady Liberty was illuminated for the first time since the massive storm thanks to the generosity of two NJ companies –Musco Lighting and Natoli Construction.

From the NYDaily News [Nov. 10, "Statue of Liberty illuminated for first time since Sandy"]:
The iconic monument will remain aglow with the help of generators and equipment donated by two private companies. The statue’s torch and crown are being illuminated by Natoli Construction, the contractor who had worked on a recent renovation project. Musco Lighting, a company that specializes in lighting stadiums and arenas, has donated the goods to light the monument.
[Onsite there's a night photo of the illuminated statue.]

Ellis Island remains in the dark, but thankfully according to museum officials, there is little or no damage to the curatorial and archival collections stored in the Immigration Building.
And, oh yes, I see that "Bellevue Hospital Won't Fully Reopen Until February."

Labels: , ,


At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Becca@Electricians In Sydney said...

It's so sad to hear that... the statue of liberty is such a huge place to visit but unfortunately we won't able to go there indefinitely.


Post a Comment

<< Home